50 Things

50 Things New Teachers Need to Know is for secondary teachers. But some of it is quite relevant to college as well.

As the year starts, you’ll be overwhelmed by the paperwork and routines your administrators demand. Ask a couple of people who have been at your campus for a while what’s really important to them: most of that rigmarole is just your administrators doing what their bosses told them to do; they don’t care about it any more than you do. Veterans at your school can tell you what you can safely ignore. You have enough to worry about without jumping through hoops for the office.

This one (#2) is an issue for me this year as I adjunct at a new SLAC. They had me come in for five hours, didn’t tell me where I needed to go besides that, and then finished up with a list after all the offices were closed. Not fun.

I say “editing papers” because it’s more constructive than “grading papers.” Written assignments should be graded like this: Read through them and mark the first five grammatical/mechanical errors. Grade the paper based on that much: the style, voice, organization, and, of course, how far you got in the paper before you found five errors. If five errors appeared within the first half page, make them do it over before you give it a grade.

I love this idea (#6). Perfect for keeping you from spending too much time marking the 100+ errors students made on their paper.

No matter what you teach, read out loud to your class. A lot. Most students these days have so little positive experience with reading, and so little ability to realistically “hear” a story in their heads as they read, that this training is truly essential, at any age. Even for teenagers, move around and use dramatic or silly voices as you read; again, such exaggeration models the kind of active screening of written words that they probably lack. Your poorest readers will want to watch you instead of reading along. I used to be a stickler about making them look at the pages of their book, but I’ve since come to think that this is counterproductive for them.

I loved this one (#9) because I do this. Sometimes folks come down and shut the door to my classroom because the declaiming is just too energetic. But my students hear the reading.

There are several more that are good for college teachers. You will have to go there to read them.

I got there from Joanne Jacobs.

Right Wing Nation has a college perspective on this list as well.

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